So here we are. Yet another Facebook related controversy. Yet another set of questions being raised about the privacy of our data with Facebook and yet another blog post on the matter.

But what we’ll be talking about here today is more than the issue at hand and more about a pre-emptive issue that gives us, the layman Facebook user, an insight into how much actually the platform knows about us. So much so that am sure even my own mother doesn’t know about me!

Well yeah. My mom doesn’t know that in 2010 I updated my Facebook status while writing my University Exam, saying how pathetic the question paper was. The first person to comment on that was my lecturer herself, who definitely wasn’t happy about that.

So what does Facebook data actually tell us? How much does Facebook know about us? Lots if you ask me. Here’s how to get started.

 

Downloading your Facebook Data

  1. Go to Facebook Settings.
  2. General Tab.
  3. At the bottom of the General Tab you’ll see an option “Download a copy of your Facebook Data“.

Based on how much stuff you have uploaded to Facebook over the years – text status updates, images, videos, GIFs etc. it might take some time for the data to download.

You’ll receive two emails. One as soon as you request the download, looking something like this –Continue reading

This is a Research Essay on the given topic I had done during the first semester of my Masters in Communication and Media Studies. The conclusions are based on my findings and my perceptions of how the industry in Silicon Valley evolved. I’ll be glad to hear any supporting or alternate views.

It’s a long read. Thanks for your patience.

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Silicon Valley has long been known as the innovation and technology capital of the modern world. Housing some of the top tech companies, it has seen tremendous economic and creative growth since the 1970s. Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies (2017) shows that of the top 10 patent generating cities in the US, 6 are based in the Silicon Valley. 39 of the companies listed in the Forbes 1000 list are again based out of this Southern Bay area of San Francisco (Forbes 2017).

As the manufacturing economy of Detroit fell in the 1960s, the innovation based economy of Silicon Valley grew. This shifted the complete focus of the US Government towards the region. Supported by the greatest minds of Stanford University, located near to the San Francisco Bay area, the support extended to the technical communities and graduates in the area grew by leaps and bounds. The all-round support from the government, academia and the industry played a major role in the growth of Silicon Valley as the pioneering face of technology. But this tech-fueled prosperity has seen a steep decline since the 1990s, owing to a multitude of reasons – technological, financial, economical and also in terms of the support system. In this essay, we will be discussing about the rise, fall and the reasons behind how the innovation culture of Silicon Valley has died since the late 1980s.Continue reading

Short Story

I sold off my company and have now shifted to Australia for my Masters.

 

Long Story

Things started changing in May 2016. My company IZE Creative had reached a level of optimal stagnancy and I didn’t have the skills enough to scale it up to the next level. Moreover, I was dying for a change of atmosphere and felt the urge to uproot myself.

It was then that my friend Ajin and couple of my mentors – Suresh Sir and Mini Ma’am, coaxed me to try for pursuing my Masters abroad. For someone who took nearly 5 years to complete his engineering, higher studies was never on my list. But the thought of exploring a pristine culture and surrounding myself with the new and unexpected did feel like a challenge I wanted to face.

Thus began my journey of finding what exactly I wanted to study, “if” I actually would decide to pursue my higher studies. It took me almost 3 months to actually decide that and another 3 weeks to decide on the preference of colleges. For some reason, maybe intuition, I didn’t focus on US and instead started exploring Universities in Australia, especially Melbourne, which has been the top city in the world for students, for 6 years straight.

As this research was going on, I received a couple of offers for buying off my stake from the company. IZE Creative had been doing great for the past 5 years and was generating absolutely wonderful content and we had a client retention rate of over 90%.

By November 2nd Week I had decided on the buyer, who would be a friend of my existing partner and by December 2nd Week, I had received my offers from 3 Universities in Melbourne. As the last week of 2016 closed by, I decided on pursuing my Masters of Communication and Media Studies with Monash University, ranked 17th globally for the subject, and the procedures of clearing the financials of selling off my stake were also done with.

So, without taking a penny of loan from the bank or from home,  I paid off the First Semester fees of my University and confirmed my admission. Needless to say, from September 2011 when I started the company with just a laptop and internet connection, I was myself proud of having come a good deal of a way. Maybe not the best achievement you would see around you, but definitely an awesome one for me. And my dad’s smile said it all.

Yes, it did hurt like hell selling off my stake and disassociating myself with IZE Creative. It’s like giving up your own child for adoption. But one has to move on to move ahead and that’s all I have done, in the long run.

From our first office in the Store Room of a Dental Clinic to starting off offices in two cities. From best friends backstabbing to strangers acting like guardian angels. From the verge of bankruptcy to YoY profit of 285% at one time. From starting off as a lone man army to reaching our maximum strength of 8 at one time. From being expelled from my own home for not getting “a job” to seeing my dad’s eyes proud with happiness, I have seen it all.

And now, as I start off on my new innings, I request your wishes. Wishes not to make things easy for me; they never have been. But wishes that I maybe able to survive through the storm and come out unscathed.

As I have always said –

“Yesterday, I was tested. Today, I’ll rise. Tomorrow, I build my legacy.”

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As people, we have a major flaw – we never tend to see our flaws.

The actions of a group, even if wrong, are blindly believed to be true. If everyone is doing it, it must be right, we say.

And even in this lack of self-analysis, we congratulate ourselves in being unique. So uniquely similar to the rest thousands that we cease to understand the meaning of the term unique itself. So bound up in the laurels of our own ego, that we inhibit ourselves from challenging the status quo. From asking questions. From seeking answers.

So why do we bask in this illusionary glory? Why do we follow the crowd and lie to ourselves that we’re swimming against the tide whereas in reality, we’re just floating adrift without a sense of direction?

Because everyone is doing it.Continue reading

“Internships are like girlfriends.
Everyone wants one, but not everyone has one.”

In this age where competitiveness is not just cut-throat but rather murderous, internships play a major role in adding sauce to a student’s profile. While projects and seminars might play the foundation role in adding value to a “zero-experience” profile, internships and part-time experience are the cherry toppings.

Further to that, recently many universities have added compulsory credit points for internships which has pushed the students to a “must-do” relationship with internships. Students look for the industry experience and credit points that come along with the internships and companies look for some cheap (mostly free) labour, even if for a few weeks. And that’s the beginning of the whole process of Unpaid Internships.

As someone from the industry and someone who has employed 20-30 interns over the past 5 years in my firm (all interns were paid for their work), I have seen this rapidly increasing trend of Unpaid Internships by other companies in the community. No matter what the experience of the intern be, I believe that time is of value for every person.

Some companies teach the intern more than they actually expect him to contribute to their working, but how many actually do that? And of such companies, it’s impossible to say that the interns contribute nothing. Every single employer takes in an intern for their own benefit, one way or the other. There’s no charity service.

That’s where the whole evil deadlock of unpaid internship begins. Most students have educational loans. The expenses of going to a new city and staying over for the internship, plus the travel expenses adds to the burden.Continue reading